Our first big lesson for second grade
When we raise our toddlers to be ready for preschool, we ensure they know a few things inherently. Things like their name, yes, no and how ‘many’ they are are just things we naturally teach our kids.
By the time kindergarten has come around, we’ve taught our little ones the art of using the restroom, how to catch, how to button and in some cases, how to tie our shoes.
By the time first grade rolls around, they know how to add simple numbers, how to write their name and sometimes, how to ride a bike.
But somehow, between teaching my child the difference between yes and no and how to add and subtract, I apparently missed teaching my child one vital bit of social etiquette. I never thought it would have to be something that she’d have to be taught. I thought it was just something that kids observed, and knew. Obviously, I was wrong.
The call from my daughter’s principal came at about 2:30 on Tuesday. Note, this was the second phone call from the school in a week regarding my daughter. I was thinking maybe she was having another one of her ‘episodes’ as since school started again, she’s had several instances that make us wonder if she has SPD or not. I mean, that morning wasn’t sunshine and roses by any stretch of the imagination. Shoes were kicked off, clothes were thrown to the ground and she put on seven pairs of underwear before she found the one that fit ‘just right’. So, when I got a call that afternoon, I fully expected the problem to be a tantrum, refusal to do schoolwork or perhaps defiance against her teacher.
An attempt to contact the principal back failed, so, I picked her up from school at the usual time. My husband was with me, as he called out from work due to allergies. The principal saw me in the pickup line and motioned for me to pull over, out of line. It seems that while teaching my child those vital steps in day-to-day living, I failed to teach her that disrobing in class was not acceptable.
Her principal informed me that in Art class that day, a fellow student had shoved some of the craft cotton balls down his pants and could not get them out. The teacher told him to jump around and shake his leg to try and release the clingy little buggers. My daughter, apparently taking the cue from the class-clown-memo, proceeded to unzip her shorts, take her hand and stick it up through the leg and out the zipper hole… thus making a rather lewd hand gesture.
I was beside myself. Where would my child have gotten the idea that this was OK? Then, the most horrific, nauseating thoughts came to mind… What if my child had learned this behavior?! Who would she have been with to have taught her something so wrong? I didn’t even want to think the worst of the worst of what could have happened to my baby to make her think that sticking her fingers in and out of her pants would have been OK!
I silenced my husband’s inquiries until I could get home and speak her her privately. I drove home in total shock.
Upon arriving home, I pulled my daughter into her room for a private mother-daughter chat. According to Kathryn, she apparently didn’t find the classmate’s cotton removal methods practical so she unzipped her pants and reached into there with 2 fingers. She says it was to show him how to get them out, but naturally, it gave her a 1-way ticket to the principal’s office out of serious concern.
I then asked her the dreaded “has anyone ever touched you” question. She thought that was a silly question for me to ask. I told her that if it ever happened, she needed to tell mom and dad. She said back “So… I just say “OK, but I’m telling mom and dad on you”?”.. Oh jeeez.. no no no, Kathryn.
I asked her why she specifically did what she did and she told me she thought it would be funny, but that she realized that in the end, it was immensely embarrassing. I further explained everything to her and made sure she understood what she did was not right. She understood and that was the end of our conversation.
On Wednesday, I got another phone call from her principal. She wanted to set up a conference with myself and my husband with her and the dean of the school to make sure we were all on the same page with what happened and to make sure this would never be done again.
On Thursday morning, we all met. Kathryn’s principal recited back to me what Kathryn had told both of us and I was relived that all of our stories matched as far as what happened. The Principal then told us that typically, actions such as my daughter’s would result in suspension, however, because it had been a few days since the incident and because my child had spent some considerable time in the Principal’s office as a direct result of this incident, they would forgo the suspension. However, a second incident such as what my child did last Tuesday could result in expulsion.
And so, three weeks into the school year, my daughter has notoriety..
I worry about what the phone call from the school will be about this week.